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Kindness

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  • #16
    You may want to loosen the strings before turning the truss rod nut.

    Capo the first fret to measure string height? wouldn't the measurement change after you take the capo off? is there a reason for this?


    you capo the first fret to make sure you have string clearance all the way down the finger board.

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    • #17
      Capo the first fret to measure string height? wouldn't the measurement change after you take the capo off? is there a reason for this?


      It most definitely changes the measurement. The reason I do it is to remove another variable from the equation. I've already set the neck relief based on the quality of the fretwork (the better the fretwork, the less relief is needed) and using the first fret as my reference point keeps me tied into the neck setup more than if I measured from the nut.

      There are many ways to do it "correctly," that's just my way.
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      • #18
        thank you kindness. great thread.

        i just put some heavier strings on my hamer bass (meds from med lights) and i think i may need to tighten the truss rod a little.

        i have heard in the past that you only do a quarter turn every day, like wait 24 hours to let the neck set after adjustment. was this discussed in your class at all?
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        • #19
          i have heard in the past that you only do a quarter turn every day, like wait 24 hours to let the neck set after adjustment. was this discussed in your class at all?


          Certainly the topic of truss rod adjustment was discussed, but not the 1/4 turn philosophy, with which I am very familiar. As a general rule, when handing out advice over the internet, I agree with the approach you've described. In practice, with my hands on the instrument, no way. I assess the strength and flexibility of the neck, the strength of the truss rod, the condition of the nut and the threads on the end of the rod and the rods resistance to my adjustments and I make adjustments accordingly. As I turn a rod, I am comfortable knowing what is normal resistance and what is not. I am not comfortable describing it over the internet, so an ultra-conservative 1/4 turn method is the safest thing to discuss online. In practice, in fact, in the past week, I run across instruments that are in need of major adjustments. I am not afraid of turning the rod a full turn or more, if the other conditions and the instrument feedback indicates that I am not causing any problems. It is helpful to understand that if you are relying on the truss rod to make the adjustment to the neck (as opposed to moving the neck into place yourself and then adjusting the nut to hold the new position), the neck will often lag in its adjustment. The full effects of a turn may take a few hours or more. That is where the suggestion of waiting a day comes from. Even waiting overnight is generally overkill.

          This leads me to another point that should be discussed; proper care of your truss rod. It is often good practice with an instrument that has not been taken good care of to completely remove the nut at the end of the truss rod and lubricate the nut and the threads of the rod before making any adjustments. The best way to do so is to loosen the nut to the point it is "finger tight" on the rod. Count the number of turn it takes to get to that point and remember that number. Then completely unscrew the nut. Use a small dab of a heavy grease to lubricate the threads on the nut and rod. Ian has taught me that bicycle grease is perfect (he is an avid cyclist), but other heavy lubricants will work as well. Tighten the nut until it is finger tight and then further adjust it according to the number of turns it took to originally get it to finger tight. Now your truss rod is lubricated to ensure smoother operation and you are back to the same amount of relief you had when you started. This makes it easier to adjust and also improves the feedback you get when adjusting, as the lack of herky jerky adjustments enable you to actually feel the resistance of the neck, rather than the resistance of the threads.
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          • #20
            Good thread.

            I use a 6" steal engineer's ruler that I picked up at the Home Depot for under 3 bucks. Scaled in 1/32nds and 1/64ths.

            Just a heads up for everyone ordering from StewMac, something a little cheaper and closer at hand.

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            • #21
              i just put some heavier strings on my hamer bass (meds from med lights) and i think i may need to tighten the truss rod a little.


              You will. If it were set properly to begin with the adjustment will be slight. If it had too much relief before, you might need a quarter turn or more.
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              • #22
                Good thread.

                I use a 6" steal engineer's ruler that I picked up at the Home Depot for under 3 bucks. Scaled in 1/32nds and 1/64ths.

                Just a heads up for everyone ordering from StewMac, something a little cheaper and closer at hand.


                Thanks for the heads up. I had been asked a number of times about what tools I personally use so I included them in here. Obviously, there are a lot of other tools that will work and there is no reason to think that the only way to get a great setup is to buy certain products.

                That said, of all the tools I own (enough to make bpocall leave our last GTG with more tool GAS than bass gear GAS) the StewMac measuring tool is by far the most essential to me. It is the handiest measuring tool I've ever used.
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                • #23
                  You will. If it were set properly to begin with the adjustment will be slight. If it had too much relief before, you might need a quarter turn or more.


                  it was setup properly. i took it to a local guitar guy for a proper setup as per your advise a month or two ago and he ended up shimming the neck because it was not angled correctly and did a full setup as well as installed a battery kill switch for the pre. this pretty much fixed every problem i had with the bass since i got it. i figured i try a thicker set of strings after and didnt bother doing anything with the neck cause the added tension was not that big of a deal. after reading your writeup i decided that it was time to make it right.
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                  • #24

                    That said, of all the tools I own (enough to make bpocall leave our last GTG with more tool GAS than bass gear GAS) the StewMac measuring tool is by far the most essential to me. It is the handiest measuring tool I've ever used.


                    those string height measurements on that tool are really cool. i will get one sometime down the road.
                    HCBF FF 2009 Champ

                    good deals with: justinbass, guitarplayer, hector945, theglove, kaiser_sosea

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                    • #25
                      those string height measurements on that tool are really cool. i will get one sometime down the road.


                      They are incredibly easy to read. I keep the tool in my gig bag and when someone hands me an instrument that feels different, I pull out the card and measure all of the critical setup points. That way I can associate what I am feeling with the measurements. This allows me to then use the measurements to set up other instruments to that same feel without much trial and error.
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                      • #26
                        Good thread.

                        I use a 6" steal engineer's ruler that I picked up at the Home Depot for under 3 bucks. Scaled in 1/32nds and 1/64ths.

                        Just a heads up for everyone ordering from StewMac, something a little cheaper and closer at hand.


                        Ya I agree 100%
                        Stwemac is rather ridiculus on their prices.

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                        • #27
                          Good work Kindness. If I may throw something in here.....since truss rod adjustments will likely change your tuning it is a good idea to retune to pitch after each adjustment of the truss rod. Not that you make an adjustment that looks cool and then tune only to find out you may need a touch more.
                          If man evolved from apes why do we still have apes?

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                          • #28
                            Good work Kindness. If I may throw something in here.....since truss rod adjustments will likely change your tuning it is a good idea to retune to pitch after each adjustment of the truss rod. Not that you make an adjustment that looks cool and then tune only to find out you may need a touch more.


                            Absolutely! Every aspect of the setup is interactive. Every adjustment should be rechecked at pitch and pitch should be retuned after each adjustment.
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                            • #29
                              I also taught myself to adjust my basses after more than one good, qualified guitar tech asked me 'why do you want a bass with action that low? It'll buzz!' To which I replied that a) it should be lower than YOUR setup, and b) if it was done right, the only buzz would be from sloppy left-hand technique.

                              One resource that was invaluable to me is the fabulous book, 'The Guitar Player's Repair Guide' by Dan Erlewine, through StewMac or you local mall bookstore-du-jour. Dan rightly points out that basses are the hardest to setup as they have the longest scale and biggest strings/longest scale. I'm living proof that the language was simple enough that even I could understand it and do it right! I highly recommend it, also covers finish, electronics, tools, etc.

                              A good Fender set up guide (also good as a generic guide for all those Fender clones) is on Fender's website. Click the Support tab and select the Bass Setup Guide, and it walks you right through.

                              The hardest thing to grasp with setup is the interweaving of nut height, relief, and string heights, how they interact. Once THAT little light comes on, it's a breeze. That you can maintain them properly all by yourself is a GREAT feeling.

                              N I C E post, kindness.

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                              • #30
                                Remember when I bookmarked this thread?
                                ---Look Around, Can You Hear The Sound Of Silent Screaming?---

                                Bassist for Second Floor Escape - Click for a Listen!

                                Basses:
                                '79 Wine Red Gibson Grabber
                                Trans White MIA Fender P

                                Cab:
                                1000W Mesa Powerhouse 1200 Cab

                                Rack:
                                400W Mesa Bass 400+
                                Korg DTR1000 Tuner
                                Furman M-8Lx Power Conditioner
                                6 Space DJK Rack

                                Pedals:
                                Fender Blender Reissue Distortion Pedal
                                Korg AX3000B Multi Effects Pedal

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